Thursday, October 28, 2004

DEW Line

Except it's not so D. This is two weeks old but still very worth noting. It's from the Scotsman (UK) for October 15.
Nearly one in three species of frogs, toads and newts in the world is under threat of extinction, according to the most comprehensive global study of amphibians ever conducted.

The report shows that amphibians are experiencing tens of thousands of years worth of extinctions in the space of a single century, with 122 species having disappeared from the wild since 1980.
Amphibians are "indicator species," ones that act as warning signs of environmental change, in their case because they are more sensitive to climate change and pollution. (Another example is the infamous northern spotted owl, the protection of which caused such howls of outrage from the timber industry.) The fact that there is a massive die-off of amphibian species indicates that something is going on under the radar, something which might rise up to bite us at any time.

How bad is it? Pretty bad.
Over the past three years, the scientists analysed the distribution and conservation status of all 5,743 known amphibian species. Of these, 1,856 - 32 per cent - were threatened with extinction.

Accurate information was lacking on a further 1,300 species[, i.e., another 23%,] which scientists believe may also be under threat.

In comparison, only 12 per cent of bird species and 23 per cent of all mammal species are considered to be endangered. ...

The findings show that 43 per cent of all amphibian species are now in decline, with 27 per cent stable. Less than 1 per cent of the population is increasing and the status of the rest remains unknown.
Hang onto your hats, kiddies, it's going to be an interesting century. President? Hell, we don't need a president, we need preachers and prophets to jar us from our complacency.

Footnote: Those of you too young to get the title of the post can click here for the answer.

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